THE number of safeguarding concerns raised about vulnerable adults in Barnsley soared by more than 20 per cent last year, shock new figures have revealed.

Statistics from NHS Digital show that 1,560 concerns of abuse were made about adults with care and support needs across the borough in the year to March.

It’s more than a 20 per cent increase on the town’s figure of 1,280 in 2020/21.

It’s also twice the national increase, which saw a total of 514,535 abuse concerns raised - a nine per cent overall increase.

Although one local authority has not yet submitted data so the figure is an estimate.

Age UK said there are some older residents that are being let down by a care system that has failed to protect them from neglect and abuse.

They added the ‘distressing’ figures are showing that some older people in care are not being treated with the respect the deserve.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity’s director, said: “Any abuse of older people is intolerable and there must be zero tolerance of any abuse whether through neglect, financial manipulation or physical or mental cruelty.

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“These cases concern some of the most vulnerable members of our society, many of whom feel that they have no one to turn to for help.

“Care workers must adhere to the strict rules and procedures which are devised to help prevent problems such as abuse, poor management and neglect.”

Caroline added that staff shortages may be leaving some care settings ‘ill-equipped’ to provide safe care, as the number of vacancies in manager roles in care homes hit record highs.

When councils and local authorities believe an adult with care and support needs is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, they must carry out a Section 42 enquiry to find out whether or not they need to step in and take action.

Barnsley Council completed 570 of these enquiries last year, up from 515 the year before - a ten per cent increase.

Neglect and acts of omission was the most frequently mentioned reason following investigation last year, as it was raised in 71 per cent of all enquiries.

More than 130 of the incidents noted physical abuse as the type of risk, whilst there were 115 that mentioned financial or material abuse.

A total of 20 of the concluded enquiries noted sexual abuse and 60 were self-neglect.

The majority of enquiries concluded the location of the risk was in a residential care home - 290 - whilst 260 were in their own home and 35 in hospitals - either mental health or community.

The service provider was deemed to be the source of risk in 340 instances - and it was more often than not the individual knew those who were putting them at risk.